Dear Diary, Featured Posts, Stories

Not Just a Dog

He is breathing slowly through the air mask. There is a window on the eastern side of the room and the sunlight brightens the bare walled white room even more. Little dust particles float quietly in the air. I pour myself a fourth cup of coffee out of the flask. I look at my phone.

0730 hours. Srinagar. 6’Celcius.

I move my attention to the view outside the window. The room is on the ground floor and a slew of Army Trucks line up in front of the Military Hospital . My heartbeat shoots up and I hold his hand tightly which has a glucose drip attached to it. I turn it around. Even the palm has cuts.

The doctor in charge arrives for the morning round. I move away. A fair stout man, he wears a smile. I try to remember his name from last night but the memories are hazy.

Any progress , Doctor?” I am earnest and he gets it.

He is still unconscious. But his body is responding well. Why don’t you go freshen up lady, there is ample staff here.”

Alright. Thank you. I shake his hand.

 

I walk back to the hotel. I throw myself on the bed . I fall asleep in a split second. I dream of a hand full of cuts and bruises moving on my body. I open my eyes with a start. I take a bath,  order myself a sandwich and head back.

He is sitting up on his bed in anticipation and turns expressionless on seeing me. Somebody must have told him of my arrival, I deduce. I look at his face clearly for the first time in bright light. The two eyes are deeply sunken in the head. I feel a tug .

 

You were the last person I expected to see here.” he speaks slowly.

I keep quiet and place my bag at the side table. I occupy a corner with my chair and a notebook.

  “I heard you arrived last night and seeing the flask and your eyes, I presume you haven’t slept. How caring of you.He turns his head sideways towards me. I notice the tinge of sarcasm in his voice.

The Hindu has sent me here. I am a war journalist remember! ” Yes. I am on work here. I try to convince myself.

And here I thought you had come for your injured ex-fiance. Begin. That way you can leave earlier.

So, first of all the country is thankful that there were no casualties. It is..” I am interrupted.

Who said nobody died!  One of our soldiers was martyred.

I move through my papers. I crosscheck. “But my source is the DGMO . No human casualties.

As I said one of us died. Does he have to be a human for making sacrifices for his country?

 I don’t understand. I think you are still in shock. Maybe we should talk later.

  I am a Fauji lady. I fight where I am told and I win where I fight. I am in peace after yesterday. Not in shock.

Lets rewind the clock then ” I settle down with my notebook.

 

We were receiving inputs about the infiltration for a long time. As soon as we got the go from the top, our unit was assigned the mission.”  I see him drift into the narration.

Ten of us belonging to the Para Special Forces crossed the border around 0200 hours yesterday along with two sniffer dogs – Shera and Kaali. We were tasked to eliminate the infiltration camp beyond the LOC. These camps are nothing but just house the terrorists take on rent from locals to house militants. We were lucky that the area had scarce population. Snow had been falling all night. Everything was white till the horizon . There had been mist formed during the night covering the entire area almost to the ground. You couldn’t see a foot in front of you. We covered the camp from all sides, took our position and started firing. We were not expecting much resistance at that ungodly hour. But soon we were receiving retaliatory firings.

Was there a breach of intelligence?” He doesn’t seem pleased with my interruption but soon chivalry overcomes it.

Seems plausible. They seemed ready. It was hellish. Raining deadly fragments and splinters, wood, and metal down on us. But we fought.  I was assigned to one of the 30-caliber machine guns with Captain Arunabh Kumar. Shera and Kaali were with us. I hope you remember when I was sent on the two month training at Meerut Cantt with the dog squad. The time I surprised you at your office?” He finally gives his classic side smile.

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Jaagruti.org. Picture is for representational purpose only

 

Ofcourse . With three dogs. And then we went on a ride to the lake with them. Boy ! could they swim! You know how much scared I am of dogs but still!

They were fierce but loyal to me. I was training and bonding with them. Even then I didn’t leave you alone with them. Did I? I am not like you.” I focus on my notebook. I cannot look into those eyes full of language.

Can we go back to the incident?

It was almost dawn. We had killed four of them . Suddenly someone yelled. “Look out behind you.” I turned around and I saw a group of men coming out of the mist. Without thinking, I grabbed the 30-calibre, swung it around, and started firing. The men were approximately three feet in front of our positions. We killed about ten men and captured two. Some of the enemy made it to our positions and we had to fight hand-to-hand. Shera and Kaali too dived in but one of them managed to flee. I suffered a bullet shot on my shoulder. Captain Kumar received deep cuts on thighs . Even Kaali had been shot. But we had to trace that fleeing enemy before retreating back. We had less than half an hour. Shera picked up the scent and, hot on his trail, moved with speed and stealth for approximately one kilometer across the mountainous terrain. I followed him.

  He traced the militant in a hideout where he had succumbed to his injuries. The operation was complete. I was wondering about the mist when I felt the tip of an LMG on my neck. There had been one more hiding in the vast snow. He made me throw my 30-calibre.

I didn’t want to die facing my back to the enemy. I couldn’t die before I proved my blood. I whistled Shera.  Shera leaped on him while I swiftly turned back trying to gain control over the LMG. We struggled but being hit with a bullet I was losing my strength in the cold. He eventually threw me away. Shera kept tearing through his pants but the enemy kicked him and shot him at one go. Now he aimed straight at me. I was prepared this time. To face death with courage. With my chest facing the bullets.

He pauses suddenly . The kind of pause when you remember something which you are trying to avoid. Looking for words in their orphanage.

Nobody can love God better than when he is looking death square in the face and talks to God and then sees God come to the rescue.  Shera leaped on the enemy again  but shot again. However this time I had  grabbed my 30 caliber and fired . And I kept on firing till he fell on the ground with fear and pain on his face.

 I dropped my gun. I looked at Shera. A hero had fallen. I removed my fatigues , wrapped it around him and carried him back to our base in my arms. He was two years old. I fell unconscious as soon as I reached here. Even a fauji’s body doesn’t give up till the work is done.

There is a fond smile on his face.

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Model: Duggu ,  Proud Owner: Ishti Sharma

I saw Shera running and playing as a pup at the Dog Squad premises in Meerut, and I fell in love with him. It was instant. I went to my senior and requested that he be given to me. We had been together since. He was three-months old when he was given to me.

 Shera wasn’t responding well to the training and six months down the line, he hadn’t learnt much. I was upset and would break down during lonely nights in the barracks, but then I never pressured him. Instead I said, ‘You take your time. I want to see how long you wait before you start responding,’ and today we both share an inseparable bond. He gave his life for me, for his country. I am proud I trained him.

 You know a person can learn a lot from dogs. Shera taught me to live with joy and enthusiasm every single day. He taught me the true meaning of love which is selflessness and unbridled loyalty. He was a true gentleman and I hope to go to his heaven and not man’s.

I close my notebook and sit across him.

I hold his palm with the glucose drip attached in my hand , bring it close to my lips and kiss it gently.

I look into his deep black eyes and murmur.

  Let us get our first dog together.

 

 

This post was written in collaboration with Second Home.

Second Home provides pet sitting for people travelling out unable to take their pets along. The pets receive the same love and care here as they get at their home. For more information visit their Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/SecondHome007

 

 

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Dear Diary, Letters to the Lover

My head’s under water, but I am breathing fine.

 

 

Source: Internet

 

Dear…..  ,

I spoke your name while writing it. And as usual I had a shy smile on my face where I scratch my forehead looking down, so that nobody notices it. Now only you know this secret.

Twenty three years of your life will soon be completed. And I should congratulate you for your phenomenal achievements so far. But as they say “Rest if you must, but don’t you Quit“. Never quit on life. More milestones are waiting to be achieved. May you become the Chief of Indian Army one day. And when you do, re-read this letter because someone someday prayed for it.

24 June 2014.

The date still hangs around , weighing me down in your love.

I get up with it every morning, I sleep on it every night. It has stayed . It has stayed in the rose kept in my diary. It has stayed in the soiled ticket of Regal. Follows me everywhere.  And when I shut my eyes to it, it transforms into a million colors bursting in front of me.

The Smile, Yellow, Sunshine. The Rose, Red, Love. The Tiger, White, Happiness.The Coffee, Brown, Hunger. The Movie, Green, Delight. The Lift, Grey, Passion. The Metro, Black, Sorrow.

The date still hangs around , weighing me down in your love. The date you returned to your first love, the Army. Time has killed it but it stays alive in me, in the dried rose, in the soiled ticket. I will wait.

                           My head’s under water, but I am breathing fine.

I miss you in a simple, desperate, human way.

Happy Birthday.

Love Always,

S

 

And did I say – I love you.

 

 

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Dear Diary, Letters to the Lover

Grow old with me. The best is yet to be.

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The soldier obliged with a photograph of the letters. He keeps them neatly stacked in a file called “Rendezvous”

 

Dear Soldier,

 

It is a quiet June night , way past midnight.It is all darkness under a thin glowing veil cast by twinkling stars in a clear, dense sky. I am sitting near a window overlooking the park. The curtain can barely cover the yellow light straining through the huge sodium light on the road, shedding a pale luminous dust on the things in the room.It feels as if its neither day nor night, just the intermingling .  And here I am , smiling while writing this curious anecdote to you. Is this what we will become years later- your ending and my beginning  fused into one another.  As if there is no I or you.So intimate that my hand on your chest is your hand. So intimate that when I fall asleep , it is your eyes that close. Continue reading

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Dear Diary, Letters to the Lover, Stories

At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet

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Source: Internet

 

Dear Soldier,

                           

                               “Kiss me with rain on your eyelashes,

                                    come on, let us sway together,

                             under the trees, and to hell with thunder.” 

 

 

At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.

 

Its time for my evening walk but turns out it has started to rain heavily . Monsoon has finally arrived in Delhi with all  its pomp and show( read lightning and thunder  ). I wish it stays for some time because maybe it reminds me of you. Continue reading

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Dear Diary

Romance as I do It

 

 

Friends and Me

Friend no 1: “Really! Romantic? Twenty days ago you were writing suicidal posts.”

Me: “Such a buzz kill you are man. I am fine. Not Bipolar…Okay…yeah…..maybe. What the hell!!”

Friend no 2: “So, why this sudden overflow of romance inside you?”

Me: “What do you mean, sudden? I had my first crush in Class 1, mind you!”

Friend no 1 :“Even with his overflowing nose which he kept picking and pasting the treasures on his  desk, mind you.”

Me: “Touche. You proved me right.”

Friend no 3: “Chal issi baat pe Lays khila de green vale.”
Continue reading

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Dear Diary

The Death

Dear diary,

12 Dec. 12

It has been two days since my grandfather passed away on 9 December. To witness a dead body and that too of someone close was a really dreadful experience for me such that I almost laughed, I felt too sad to cry, seeing my near and dear ones surrender to grief.  Though being true to you reader, not a single droplet fell down my eye. Later when I tried to reflect on the reason why I was unable to cry even though I was very close to him, I came upon this conclusion that I had accepted the fact that he had to go one day.  According to me he had seen enough of life and its colours and now wanted peace.  The lines “the soul is immortal “echoed through my head when I reproached myself for not crying over his death.

When everyone in the house was sobbing over him (which I felt strange because most of them were hardly close to him as I was), I contemplated on his life, his achievements and his failures. My grandfather or my Dadaji, as I called him, was my first tutor of English. In summer holidays when whole of my clan got together at Baraut he used to take our English lessons. He was a dedicated Arya Samaji and had vowed to perform havans every Sunday which he kept till his death. Though he was a little eccentric sometimes, he was a very affectionate man in his heart. He had sacrificed whole of his life teaching maniacally to raise his extended family. And now when he would see his children happy and successful his regrets from life suddenly disappeared and his chest infused with pride.

Being his granddaughter I too have inherited some of his habits.  I, like him, have a fascination for the morning newspaper. Dadiji told us that even on the day of his death he insisted upon hearing the news (his eyes were too weak to read thanks to glaucoma) in the morning.  Interest in politics is one another example. I remember the times when we would debate over who would be the chief minister or which party would win. I would pretend to be a news reporter and ask him questions as if he was some politics expert and then we would record our voices.  Those moments still bring a smile on my face.

I remember the day clearly. It was the usual Sunday. As usual after the Sunday brunch comprising of the absolute combination of newspaper and Allo Paranthas ,I had finally taken the bath and was combing my hair when i heard mom manically screaming for me. I ran in the other room only to hear about his demise. It was a unexpected news for me as I, Lakshya and Pitaji had visited him yesterday and though he felt weak we couldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams that it would be our last tryst with him.  Panic ran down the house. As Pitaji had already left for Baraut after hearing about his deteriorating health the very morning, I was summoned to ask our neighbour Khatri uncle for help.  Soon our clothes were packed and we were on our way to Baraut with Mr and Mrs Khatri in their big black SUV. The journey felt short to me as I was eager to reach the destination.  As the trees whizzed past me images of my childhood started clouding my head. When I reached Baraut I automatically tuned to the somber ambience of the house.  Relatives and known people had started pouring in and Dadiji was moaning ceaselessly. I was totally unprepared to deal with such a situation as it was the first time I had seen a death so I crouched in a corner among the ladies. Off late my cousins too arrived. We, instead of crying, reflected on his life.

Next two days were spent in Baraut where known and unknown relatives kept showing up expressing their condolences.

From this incident I realised one thing- the effect of loosing someone close is significant in our lives.  What remains afterwards is just profound emptiness. We should realise that the end is bound to come and should accept it gracefully. The challenge for each of us is to live each day with the end in mind, attending to what matter most – family, faith and love.

Saumya

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Dear Diary, Stories

The Winner takes it all, Really?

The sun rose in a cloudless, shimmering sky, and only those who had risen at dawn like me had been lucky enough to enjoy the cool breeze that had blown for a brief spell on that otherwise hot summer day.

It was the day of my Class 7 results. I was leading by 1 mark till the pre-finals and was pretty sure that I would come First in my class after a wait of seven years. For seven long years I had sincerely held the second position but the top one surprisingly alluded me.

I had always doubted, perhaps the girl who topped knew black magic and she magically interchanged our marks. Maybe that could explain the mysterious smirk she gave me every time we collected results. Or perhaps there was something to be said for Sun Signs. Mine being Capricorn, I had like the goat, always stayed close to grass, and had lived my life at my own pace only being stirred into furious activity when goaded beyond endurance. Hence there I was, happily watering my plants, and talking to them, telling how proud I would feel receiving the first prize at the prize distribution ceremony- “You all should come too”. Little me, little dreams.

Trrng …Trrng. The landline buzzed in my room . I dashed inside skidding like a surfer on tidal waves. I picked it up excitedly and the other side spoke “ You got second my baccha.” Oh ! not again. Though this wasn’t new but it hurt this time. Maybe I was really in my adolescence as the science teacher had told us , starting to feel things . I ran to my hiding place and sobbed for half an hour in the bath tub.

Mom and I went for our walk at night. I asked her “Are you unhappy?” She smiled at me as she always had “ You didn’t lose, you came second. That’s still winning. How could I be unhappy with a second place. There are a lot of your classmates who would love to be in your place. I know it is frustrating at times, but what’s so great is the lesson you take from this, which is, ‘I’ve got to get better.’

And that was it. I pondered over my weaknesses, endured for the whole year and there I was after one year, proudly receiving the first prize. A little bud of rose bloomed in my garden that day after a long wait.

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